Annette Herrera is a 27-year-old single mother raising her 5-year- old daughter, Rayne. As a first-time mom, anxious to get prepared during her pregnancy, she began taking parenting classes before her daughter was even born. Like Emma, Annette also graduated from BCFS’ Precious Minds New Connections and Texas Families: Together and Safe classes.
“I know some people don’t like to take parenting classes because they think, ‘I must be a bad parent,’ but I never thought about it in a negative way. You’re not a bad parent – you’re actually trying to better yourself and your relationships,” says Annette. “Once you go to a class, you see that every parent gets stressed and frustrated, that’s normal. There’s so much the class can do for you – sharing experiences, making you more confident, or giving you better techniques to use.”
Some of the most valuable lessons Annette learned pertained to managing the complexities of blended homes. “Our instructor had a stepchild and talked about the importance of other adults in a child’s life, even if they’re not the mom or dad. I just introduced my boyfriend to my daughter. I feel like it’s an honor to meet her – she’s my world, my princess. If he’s stepping into our world he needs to be accepted. I appreciated our instructor’s perspective and advice on dealing with that.”
BCFS parenting education programs also connect families to wrap-around social services and resources in their community that provide food, clothing, baby items, transportation, and other services aimed at improving the family’s quality of life.
“There’s not always one perfect answer when it comes to parenting questions,” says Annette. “Learning new techniques was what I appreciated the most. That’s what I really love about the classes – hearing people’s stories and all the different ways people approach parenting.”
Having Rayne has changed Annette’s life immensely – and so have BCFS parenting classes. Annette now has more confidence, and a more positive, appreciative outlook on life. She says her daughter is her hero, but by the sound of this mom’s dedication to her little one, the feeling is definitely mutual!